Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ooh-oo Child

For those days when we need encouragement.






Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter
Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter

Some day, yeah
We'll get it together and we'll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter

Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna be easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get be brighter
Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna be easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get be brighter

Some day, yeah
We'll get it together and we'll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter
Some day, yeah
We'll get it together and we'll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter

Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter
Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter
Right now, right now
(You just wait and see how things are gonna be)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ready or Not?


My hip replacement surgery is in about 12 hours.

I sure don't feel ready for this experience but I think I have done all I can to prepare.  I am at the point now where this just needs to be over with and the pre-surgery anxiety a thing of the past. My plan is to focus on how good I will be doing by the Fall.

There is a lot of preparation before having hip surgery.

This part of the journey started when the sports medicine physician looked at X-rays of my knees and hip and said it was time and sent off a referral for surgery. I have gone to 8 appointments at the hip clinic experts, one appointment with the surgeon, one pre-op physical with my family doctor, and finally, a hospital preop visit that involved separate appointments with the anesthetist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and the nurse,

I was supposed to try and lose some weight and do leg strengthening exercises. I admit I might not have been the shining example in this category but I made a good try.

Next comes the practical things that needed to change

The hip replacement comes with a whole lot of restrictions after surgery that last for about 3 months You can't bend past 90 degrees at the hip, you can't cross your legs and all.- not even at the ankles! 

Vehicle.  We needed to replace our car anyway so we went on a hunt for the easiest vehicle for someone to get in and out of with a sore leg.  Goodbye SUV Explorer and welcome home to our new to us 2009 Flex.

Reclining Chair. Just about every chair in our house has me sitting with greater than the 90-degree bend. We thought about putting blocks under the legs to lift it higher but decided it was okay to just order a new reclining chair from La-z-boy.
new bed

Walker. Yes, I will need a walker. I got rid of my previous one saying I won't need this again! ha.

Reacher Stick. Best purchase. I find it helpful and my 7-year-old grandson thinks it is the best toy ever.

Clothing Assist Stick, Long Shoehorn  There is just no bending over to pull up my big girl panties, or put on shoes so you need tools.


Raised Toilet Seat. It actually has helped a lot with the pain already. It turns out our toilet seat was exceptionally low.

Rent a Shower Seat. It is not reasonable to just step in the tub apparently

Slippers.  They must have closed back, no skid soles and be slip on. The only ones that fit me were expensive and not pretty.


Pack a Bag. This one is a bit minimalist, with a housecoat, toothbrush and clothes to go home in. If I need anything, my family will bring it for me.

Please keep me in your prayers and good thoughts.


Monday, May 21, 2018

One Week to Hip Surgery

I haven't written because I have been avoiding talking about how I am feeling while I am getting ready for my upcoming hip replacement surgery.
There has been a lot to do to get ready. I have gone to a lot of appointments, bought a lot of things to make life easier and I learned a lot in the process.  I do want to journal my experiences with this surgery on Leading A Healthy Life so I thought I better just sit down and start to type!

I had expected that my surgery would be in Fall 2018 but there was a cancellation and they gave me a May 25th date. I know I am lucky to be seen so soon but I am perpetually feeling like I am playing catch-up, both physically and emotionally and financially. I took short-term disability from work and have pulled out of my art group and Girl Guides for the now so there have been a lot of changes in my life. I am rapidly going between be ecstatic at the thought that soon I will soon be able to walk and drive and do all those wonderful things in life------- to feeling absolute panic as I imagine all the worse case scenarios.

I am in a lot of pain and walking is horrible, sleeping is difficult and my allergies knock out the use of most effective painkillers. I have been dealing with this for a long time now and have done medication, physio, water programs, hot and cold treatment, cortisone shots and so on and now I am out of options other than surgery.

If the hip goes well I will get on a waiting list to deal with my knees which are in horrible shape too.

I am going to work on being POSITIVE about the outcome!
Please keep cheering me on!
Photo from 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pour Painting Made Easier

We did Pour Paint Art at the Stroke Recovery Art Group last month. I wrote about how much fun it was with Girl Guide Leaders and I wanted to be able to do it with other groups.
I tried it out a couple of times to figure out how to make it a little easier for our groups.

Materials
  • 6 - 8 cups per participant (disposable cups are okay but should be more solid and not squish too easily)
  • tarps, plastic or other types of sheets to protect the table and the floor.
  • I made sure everyone had an old shirt or apron on.
  • We used disposable gloves with Girl Guides and it certainly kept our hands clean but they do interfere with sensation and hand control which I thought was a good idea with my participants. 
  • a large tray for each participant would be desirable and cut down on the potential mess.
    a bowl or dish that would fit under the canvas to keep the canvas from touching the table and to pour paint into.
  • canvas ...the kind with a frame and not the flat kind would be a bit easier.
  • acrylic paint ... as many choices of colour as possible, but at least the 6 or 8 colours.
  • stir sticks or spoons. I used coffee stir sticks. Taller than the cups you have so you can stir the paint.
  • a pitcher or some cups of water.
  • a paint flow medium like Flotrol... This is available at craft stores but cheaper in the paint section of your hardware store. I think this really helps but if using chemicals is a problem just leave it out. It helps the paint spread smoothly and slows down dry time.
  • a silicon treadmill lubricant. It is sold in small bottle kind of like eye drops and you would find it sold beside treadmills. I found mine at Canadian Tire.
  • optional would be a final coating when it is dry, Either a clear spray finish or mod podge. It makes it shinier. 

Directions

Start by setting up the table and possibly floor and people with covering to protect from paint. I have not yet had a big mess but the potential is there for anyone.
Set up a spot for each participant but don't overcrowd participants.

Set up 6 to 8 cups per person. Into each cup put just enough of the flow medium to cover the bottom. Into this have the participant choose a colour of paint and then pour in some paint. The amount can be variable from cup to cup.

Mix the paint and the flow medium with a stir stick. You want the paint to be about the same consistency as whipped cream before it gets whipped. It should pour in a smooth stream but not seem watery. If it seems too thick just add a tiny bit of water at a time.

Each cup should have a few drops of the silicon lubricant added to it. Give the cups another little stir.
Now we are almost ready to pour! Put the canvas on top of the bowl so that it sits level. The bowl should fit inside the frame and the fabric part of the canvas should rest on it.

We are Ready!

The participant can then pick a colour of paint and pour a little or a lot onto the canvas. Then add another colour and another, maybe go back to previous colours. You would expect the paint to be flowing around a bit.

The participant should pick up the canvas by the edges and tilt it from side to side to try and get the paint to run in such a way to cover all of the surfaces. This gets very exciting! Try and tip the paint into the bowl because there can be quite a lot of it to just wind up on the table. If there are a few spots that are missed on the canvas you can do a little touch with the stir stick or a fingertip. The paint should pour over the edges and get the sides of the canvas covered as well.
When done set the canvas back over the bowl so it can drip off and not pool underneath and stick the picture to the table!
These come out very different than we expected. The colours, thickness of the paint, the speed they are poured, angles tilted and so many other things add extra surprises and excitement to the picture.
Experimentation is fun!  I don't think there is a wrong way to do this.
I had one person who began to finger paint and loved it. Another kept tapping it on its side and then started drawing the back of a pencil through the think paint and making impressions. Two people wanted me to go get the glitter to put on a top sprinkle on their pictures!
 If they have extra paint left in their cups that is okay. They can do another painting or people can pool their leftover bits of paint and make one together.

This project uses a lot of paint and winds up with quite a thick layer of paint so it takes a couple days to dry completely and to firm up/ cure. Have a spot to leave them to dry where you won't need to move them.

One final option is to but a glossy finish to it. When the picture drys the surface will have a little sheen. The glossy coat brings out colours and highlights the shapes in a different way.

One of my ladies did this at home on flat wrapped canvases and did not add the Flowtrol or silicone to her paint and was very happy with her results. It is just exciting to play with the paint so freely.

Have fun and enjoy your artwork.

If something isn't clear or you have any comments or questions please comment below and I will try to answer you.







Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Massage Therapy Works!


Holly is a lovely young woman who works where I do. I work every second weekend and every other Monday at the personal care home and Holly works the weeks opposite me. Holly has appreciated working part-time and getting experience while going back to school and learning how to be a massage therapist.

It has been a long haul for her working, going to school and studying so much. The training has been very extensive and expectations have been high.  A few months ago Holly graduated. She was enthusiastically welcomed to begin her practice at the same place she had done her student placement. Holly is happy with the balance she now finds working part-time as a Recreation Facilitator while at the same time building her practice as a massage therapist.

Massage therapy is an integral part of my health maintenance and wellness, and I go every few months. 
I first started going to my massage therapist, Lisa over 8 years ago. My head hurt, my ears were ringing, moving was really hard and every inch of me felt beat up. I was improving but my left side still wasn't working like it should, and my balance was truly horrible.

My physiotherapist from the outpatient hospital program suggested that massage therapy might help. I found a massage therapist at the physiotherapy clinic at the end of my street. The first time I went there my daughter came with me because I needed the physical and emotional support. I really was unclear about what the therapist would do with me and even less clear about the chances of this doing me any good.  I found that she was a lovely woman with a great smile and a reassuring style. The room was private with nice lighting and a few decor touches and a wall that was mostly mirror. She talked to me about my history and what it was I wanted to achieve through massage therapy. She left me to get undressed (with the help of my daughter) and to lie down on the massage table and I covered myself with a sheet. She came back after a few minutes, lowered the light a bit and set her computer to quietly play light music. She began a gentle conversation and she started gradually massaging one body part at a time. I really did start to relax which is not easy when your body is having muscle spasms all the time.  I felt a little better. I also felt exhausted partly because of the stress of walking into the unknown and partly because I just got super tired very easily.

I was encouraged enough to go back. I found that my neck and shoulder really began to respond to the treatment.  Within a month I found a reduction in the headaches and going with that was some relief from the dizziness.

Arm and leg problems after a brain injury or stroke are kind of the obvious signs of disability. I was given lots of exercises to help my arm and leg and to improve everyday living tasks like sitting and standing and walking. Fine movements in the fingers of my hand got a tiny bit of work. I remember picking up fake fruit and vegetables.  I was upset with the lack of interest by the professionals in getting my non-dominant left hand working again. I wanted to do so many things that required both hands!
My left side issues included the muscles in my neck and head. The speech therapist gave me exercises to improve my tongue and lips but nothing much was done with the left side of my neck, face or scalp until I started with the massage therapy. I am not saying that the spasms in my neck and face were the sole reasons for my head pain and balance issues but the massage helped bring down some of the pain issues and allowed me to relax and focus more on recovery.
Currently, I am having issues related to arthritis and Lisa has been able to give me some relief. Lisa is not taking new clients but if you are in Winnipeg I would be happy to put you in touch with Holly!


Please look at this link for more information about locations of other Manitoba clinics, FAQ, and details about the profession of Massage Therapy.




Photo credit to Unsplash

Sunday, March 4, 2018

101 Year Old and Children Chat


I loved viewing this video.

First I loved the sincerity and honesty of Alice, and of the children. A few people have asked me if I want to live to 100 now that I have worked in a personal care home. My answer is it depends. Alice is my new role model for ageing well.

I think the best part of this video is when Alice makes some comment about ageing and the little boy answers “You’re really old, but you are really good at it.”



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